HSE release Coronavirus update - air conditioning

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
26th May 2020

  • “If you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms, it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply.
  • You do not need to adjust other types of air conditioning systems.
  • If you’re unsure, speak to your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.”

The reassurance will be welcome for those with building management responsibility and further pleasing for us, as it echoes the position we’ve held and advised customers on for some time.

It is not just a matter of “business as usual” though and dutyholders need to manage their air handling systems accordingly. Specifically, with COVID-19 and our return to work, questions you should be asking, if you haven’t already, include:

  • Have you set up your systems, where practical, to run off 100% fresh air?
  • Have your air handling units (AHU) and fan coil units (FCU) been inspected and are they appropriately clean and well maintained, where necessary including fresh air intakes, filters, condensate drip trays, drainage, heating and cooling coils?
  • Have you inspected ventilation supply and extract grilles throughout the building to make sure their operating correctly, clean and free from blockages?
  • Have you liaised with the building M&E provider to carry out a survey of any room to room recirculating air systems (e.g. FCU), what they supply, and risk assess/evaluate those that can be switched off to reduce recirculation of air? Do these share a plenum chamber in the ceiling void?
  • Do you have any heat recovery systems or other similar systems within your AHU system? Can these be switched off to prevent recirculation of air? Have they been cleaned?
  • Have you communicated the impact of changing ventilation systems to users?

With over 30 years experience in independently and proactively managing indoor air quality, we’ve provided 1,000’s of assessments for customers throughout the UK. Do you know what your indoor air quality is like?